The Chicago Cubs had the best record in baseball last season and ran away with the division. The Reds haven’t done much to improve this off-season. The Brewers have a ton of upside but are still a very young ball club. The Pirates have a solid lineup and starting rotation. The Cardinals and Cubs are two of the top teams in the league. Here are the projections for the 2017 National League Central.
NL Central Projections
5. Cincinnati Reds
The Reds didn’t make any moves to make them any better than last year. Their rotation already took a hit as Anthony DeSclafani has a sprained UCL in his right elbow. Power hitters, first baseman Joey Votto and third baseman Adam Duvall are the big bats in this lineup. Their backend of the bullpen is relying on a bounce back year from Drew Storen.
4. Milwaukee Brewers
Milwaukee is a very young and talented ball club. Second baseman Jonathan Villar is a rising star and has loads of speed. Centerfielder Keon Broxton has plenty of speed and upside. Of course, All-Star outfielder Ryan Braun is still in the middle of that lineup. Their rotation will be question mark as it is made up of some struggling veterans in Matt Garza and Chase Anderson.
3. Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates lineup is very solid. Josh Harrison is a solid lead off hitter if he can stay healthy. Rookie Josh Bell has the potential to win the Rookie of the Year. Their rotation is very strong and has some depth. Gerrit Cole is their ace and should have a bounce back year. Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow are both young and have plenty of upside.
2. St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis solidified their lineup by picking up centerfielder Dexter Fowler this off-season. They have one of the best defensive catchers in the game in Yadier Molina. Their rotation is very strong as they have Carlos Martinez, Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, and Lance Lynn is making a comeback.
1. Chicago Cubs
The Cubs are pretty much the same team that won the World Series last season. Kyle Schwarber will have a monster comeback season. Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant are a duo in the middle of the lineup. They have one of the best rotations in the game as they have three potential Cy Young winners in Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, and Jake Arrieta. Despite losing Aroldis Chapman in the off-season, they traded for late inning reliever Wade Davis.